Thanks in part to the influx of adaptation to online learning, a majority of higher education officers believe their institutions will be in a better financial position in five years, according to the inaugural Higher Education Outlook Survey by KPMG LLP, an audit, tax and advisory firm.
Nearly half (47%) of the 102 senior officers in higher education characterized their institutions’ financial health today as somewhat better or significantly better compared with five years ago — before the U.S. economic collapse. Thirty-five percent pointed to offering more online courses as a measure to help secure the financial future of their institutions.
“Tuition increases remain a huge issue for all institutions and these results shed light on what’s causing increases and what other steps these colleges are taking to deal with cuts in government funding,” David Gagnon, KPMG Audit partner who serves higher education clients, said in a news release. “For instance, it seems likely students will see more online course offerings as budget pressures continue.”
Dealing with the impact of government cuts to higher education was also examined. Regarding measures their institutions have adopted or are considering as a result of cuts, the most popular selection (53%) was increasing tuition, followed by delaying capital projects (45%), and eliminating programs/disciplines that reflect less demand (34%).
Database: Search, Sort, Compare Online MBA Programs | School Reports: Full Details on MBA Programs | Specialties: Research MBA Concentrations
Private Versus Public
Comparing the responses of public and private institution respondents revealed some interesting differences. While 52% of private college respondents were somewhat concerned about maintaining enrollment, only 37% of public college respondents were. Also, 45% of public college respondents said their institution’s standards for admission are higher than five years ago compared to just 30% of private college respondents.
Regarding why tuition increases at their institutions were needed, the most popular selection, with 63% of public college respondents versus just 25% of private college respondents, were cuts in state funding followed by competitive pressure to hire better faculty (37%) and cuts in federal student aid (36%).
Social Media On the Rise
Forty-four percent of the respondents said they were taking steps to improve their institution’s social media capabilities. In addition, respondents said social media such as Facebook and Twitter help their institutions perform certain functions – 53% cited “marketing/branding” and 52% cited “more immediate communication from leadership to students.”
The KPMG survey was conducted in May 2012.
–Alanna Stage, @AlannaTweets